3 month old baby girl crying and inconsolable at sundown


hoping for some advice on something that has just started happening with our 11 week old baby girl. About a half a week ago she has started to cry loudly (screaming ant the top of her little lungs) and will be utterly inconsolable starting at or right around sundown. She will be smiling and happy one moment and then it is like a switch has been flipped and she will start screaming for 1-2.5 hours. We thought it might be cluster feeding growth spurts so have tried feeding her a little bit whenever she will eat. (Like an ounce or more if she will eat it every hour starting at 5/6PM - trying to get ahead of the 8ish PM sundown). Cluster Feeding seems to help a bit but doesn’t stop the uncontrollable crying from happening. She looks like she is in pain and is pushing us away when the crying lags start. It’s not gas or constipation, we don’t think it’s an upset tummy or anything like that as when we start her bedtime routine (on the nights that she hasn’t screamed herself into an exhausted sleep) she is fine and smiley again. We are at a loss of what to do and feel like we are failing our new baby already by not being able to figure out whatever need it is she needs addressed or filled. 

has anyone had or heard of a similar situation with their baby and if so what did you do? Any advice is heartily welcome and appreciated.

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This is so so normal at this age. I highly recommend the Wonder Weeks app or book to reassure you about common rhthyms in sleep and crying for babies. Happiest Baby on the Block also has some good techniques for swaddling, sounds, and rocking that may help. 

Oof, yes. Sounds like classic witching hour. This is very common at that age. You can look up more about it, but rest assured that it sounds like you are doing everything in your power and are doing nothing wrong. One 'trick' we used at that age was throwing our LO in a carrier and taking a long neighborhood walk. Most of the time LO would knock out and sleep straight through that fussy time, plus mom and dad could get some fresh air and pensive talks during that time. It was really good for the whole family! Other things we tried were bouncing on yoga balls and warm baths, but the carrier walk was the surefire key for us for many weeks.

Wishing you all the best - it's a tough phase, but it will pass.

‘Witching hour’ is so hard! You guys are doing great and it won’t be forever, but that doesn’t make it any easier in the moment! You’re amazing for asking around in your community, and definitely not failing her. Sometimes crying can just be about moving some emotions out of the body, even if all her needs are met. A totally normal part of being a tiny human figuring it all out.

Taking our baby outside at this time was always helpful as well and wearing him to help co/regulate. And eventually it faded!

You should talk to her pediatrician to make sure everything is ok.

Ahh the witching hour! Our 4mo goes through something similar and our best guess is that she's hit her sensory limit of the day. It's like she's suddenly overtired and needs help turning off the world. Since we have an older child, we typically either wear her in a baby carrier with a hood and paci and bounce her, or have one parent manage the older child and the other goes into a dark room with white noise to try to calm her down. It can still take awhile to calm her down. Occasionally she takes a cat nap though not always, but once she's gotten past the overtired hump, she can manage a feed and then is good until bedtime.

Hope it gets better for you and baby soon!

Hi! Sounds like the witching hour. Both of my sons had that for about 1-2 months and we just had to take long walks outside (stroller for my oldest, baby carrier for my youngest) and take deep breaths to get through it until we nailed down a better sleep schedule. As soon as we figured out the best wake windows, our sons were much less over/undertired and the witching hour decreased. Here's some info:


First time mom to a 5 month old here so hardly more seasoned than you, but wondering if you have tried moving her bedtime earlier so she’s asleep before sundown? I am also remembering that when our guy was around that age I had him out for walks after dark a couple of times (back when sun was setting much earlier!) and he was extremely stimulated by lights etc. Both streetlights outside and coming home to light interiors after being out in the dark. I think as their circadian rhythm is gradually developing they can get really disoriented by those kinds of incongruities. Anyway babies are so tough!! Nobody can tell you with certainty what makes them cry. When our son is really going off and it takes a long time to comfort him I try to focus on the powerful bond we are creating by being there for him when he’s at his most upset. Sounds like you guys are great, caring parents. Hope you can get it cracked soon because I know it is so stressful when they cry like that and can’t settle—but it doesn’t mean you are failing!

First, know that this is a normal phase for many babies, and it will pass. One day ten years from now, you'll be reading BPN and say "OMG, I had totally forgotten about how awful that was!" The parenting group we were part of when our kids were little called this the "witching hour," and it was a known phase for some babies starting around six weeks through 4-5 months. Colic is also a possibility, but the guidance for colic when our kids were small was the 3/3/3 rule--crying at least three hours a day, at least three days a week, for at least three weeks. It doesn't sound like that's what is happening with your child. We also had one child who had milk/soy protein intolerance that presented as similar fussiness around that age, but again, that happened throughout the day and not just in the evening, and was very clearly linked to feeding. Your description really sounds like classic witching hour--it feels like you have a different baby for just a couple of hours a day, always in that evening window. For us, we shuffled schedules to try to be home during that time so that we could have a consistent routine and not disrupt other activities with a fussy baby, and otherwise just tried to be sure the baby wasn't overtired or overstimulated. A baby swing really helped one of our kids. The only thing that really addressed it was time, though. As intense and challenging as it was in the moment, it was a relatively short-lived phase, and by six months or so, had largely resolved. Good luck!

Ah, the witching hour. My husband spent 90 minutes every evening pacing our apartment hallways with our first kid strapped to his chest when she was about this age because that was the only thing that would calm her down. You might try similar walks/baby-wearing. The good/bad news is this is almost certainly normal, common, and will pass in what seems like forever but is usually a month or so. I'm sorry - it's really rough, but you will all make it!

Hi there,

It sounds like you're dealing with witching hour woes. Our daughter had this as well (many kids do!). There's not really a cause for it, and unfortunately there's not a foolproof way to handle it, but the good news is that it's just a phase. For us, it lasted for about eight weeks, which feels like FOREVER when you're in it, but I promise it will end. While we were in it, we found there were a few things that helped with our daughter (usually, but not always): stroller walks / being outside on our patio, baby wearing so she could be close to us and we could do lots of bouncing and soothing, and (this was the best solution we came up with) getting her down for a nap right before we knew the witching hour was starting so she would sleep through at least part of it. 

Here's a video that contains some helpful info (make sure to read the caption too!): https://www.instagram.com/reel/CVilKokFJWK/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Most of all, it's important to know that YOU ARE NOT FAILING YOUR BABY!!! You are doing such a great job!! Even by just asking this question you are proving that you love your sweet girl and that's truly the most important thing. You got this!!

Our pediatrician told us that stomach/gut things can work themselves out for many months after birth. Even if it doesn’t seem like obvious gas or constipation it could be something going on more internally. She mentioned this is a time when they’re whole digestive system is learning to build itself and process. We used to hold ours in a sitting position in our arms while we stood and walked around. Tush down and legs over the forearms facing out. Almost like a squatty potty position for baby.  If she’s crying in pain it may be related. I think a little too early for teething but that could be it too. Not sure if that helps. 

maybe she's teething, check with her pcp

This is called the “witching hour” and every baby I’ve ever seen (including my own) went through it. It’s almost always in the evening because they’re overstimulated from the day; ours was every night right at 6pm. Some of the things that helped us were: taking baby outside for some fresh air, giving a pacifier, swaddling, taking baby into a quiet room. Good luck, I promise it will get better!

Hi - I just wanted to reach out and say we had a very similar issue with our daughter at around the same age. It was incredibly difficult, and I’m sorry you’re going through this. A lot of people refer to this as the “witching hour,” though for us is was often several hours. The only thing that occasionally helped was taking the baby for a walk outside. My husband and I would trade off walking the baby outdoors, so that each of us at least had a little quiet time to re-group every other evening. Things really started to improve around the 4.5/5 month mark. Not only did the witching hour screaming subside, but we started getting much longer stretches of sleep at night and started to feel like sane humans again. You are absolutely NOT failing your baby. Our pediatrician told us this is common and that sometimes time is the only remedy. Hang in there and know that this is not going to last forever.

Oh boy...this sounds like what we lovingly referred to as the 'witching hour'! It was particularly painful with my second daughter. How did we get through it...wine, music, earplugs and a baby carrier. If I had her in the carrier it helped, and we would often go on walks at this time just to get her distracted. Painful, normal, and also (thankfully) temporary. Hang in there!

I agree with the witching hour assessment, and my 1st baby went through the same thing.

You can also try exploring baby's diet. As I understand it, the more of an allergen baby consumes, the worse the symptoms are. So later in the day baby will have taken more of an allergen than at the beginning of the day. And perhaps the discomfort is only felt after having crossed a threshold. So if it's formula, try offering one with lower lactose (Hipp Comfort is a good one). Or if it's breastmilk, try removing allergens for a day or two and see if that changes anything.

The infamous witching hour! You are not failing! When my daughter went through that phase, I just walked her around in her stroller while gently speaking/singing to her. I see my neighbors doing the same thing, walking or strolling up and down the block. I don't think there is anything else you can do except wait it out. You can google "baby witching hour" to confirm you are not alone.

This sounds so familiar to me and despite my son being 9 now, I remember it like it was yesterday! We went through the same thing with him around that age...where he was a very happy baby during the day but right around 6/7pm, he'd start crying inconsolably. This happened like clockwork for us...so we knew to expect it and realized that unfortunately, there wasn't much we could do. Sometimes, he'd be ok with laying down against my chest and it'd soothe him for a bit until he finally fell asleep. I believe most people would call this "colic", so I'd just google it and you'll find the list of symptoms as well as possible ways to try and alleviate it.

We did notice that white noise helped to calm him down (oddly, he loved the sound of the hair dryer and the second we played it, it usually quieted him down), so maybe experiment with different white noise sounds? 

Ah yes, the witching hour! 100% a known, real thing. Ours peaked at 10-12 weeks. The best option was to put him in the stroller or bjorn and walk the neighborhood. Hang in there and know that this too, shall pass. 

Second all the previous replies - the witching hour is very typical and unavoidable at this age! Taking our son outside for some fresh air helps us the most in calming him down. It’s now part of our nightly routine - my partner takes him for a walk in the chest carrier for 30-60 min before dinner. he cries throughout dinner (thankfully I’m a fast eater!) and usually calms right down by the time I get him upstairs for bed. 

Yes yes! We’ve all been there…initially flummoxed by the “witching hour”! (Or the “grandmother hour”— if you are lucky enough, get a grandma or friend to come take a turn bouncing or wearing the baby so you can have a little relief.)

Babies love a change of scenery so if you can take an evening walk that will help! If not sing or play soothing music as you wear or bounce baby around the house. 
Know that in a month or two these crying spells will vanish. Hang in there!

I see everyone has reassured you that it's totally normal and is just the "witching hour," and I totally agree, but I just want to add that you are NOT letting your baby down, ever, by not being able to figure out why they're upset. Those little rats never come out and tell you! You are doing your best, I'm sure you're doing great, and you're also trying something that you had zero experience in 11 weeks ago. (Also, that's true at any age; for instance, I've never parented a nine-year-old before. I'm doing it NOW...but I've never done it before. And when her sister is nine, I won't have parented THAT kid at nine before either. Know what I mean? This will continue to be new. Be kind to yourself. You're amazing.) (Also, my second kid also pushed away during the witching hour but was more content to be worn on a chest during that time. Maybe that'll work for you too?)

This sounds like a very typical developmental stage called the period of purple crying. There is nothing wrong with your baby, you're not doing anything wrong (part of the characteristics is that there's nothing you can do that will stop the crying), there's nothing she needs that you're missing, and she will grow out of it. More info here: http://www.purplecrying.info/. Please read about it, I think it will sound familiar and be comforting to know she's not in pain.

You'll get through this, and really that's your goal. I see there are lots of replies with suggestions like baby wearing or going for walks, etc. Go ahead and try whatever feels good to you, but most likely she'll keep crying (that's unfortunately how this period works), so don't feel like you're failing if it's not calming her. If you need to put her down and step away, that's fine. Use noise canceling headphones or earplugs, do whatever you need for YOU as you walk through this stage with her. It should be better in about a month or 2. Remember the is a NORMAL part of development. Some babies cry more than others (just in case you have anyone telling you their kid didn't do this), but it's expected to peak around this time in all kids.

Good luck, Mama. You got this!

This sounds like the witching hour to me, but it's a curiously late onset (usually that is worst at 6 weeks, and goes away at 3-4 months). Are you paying attention to wake windows and making sure she naps/sleeps when appropriate? She might be overtired if she's up for more than 60-90 miniutes at that age. For us, something similar happened when our baby was 5 weeks old, and we ended up investing in a Snoo to help her nap (or sleep for the night) as soon as she seemed tired. And sometimes the last nap of the day would still have to be in the erobaby as I walked around the house -- sometimes that was the only thing that got her to calm down and nap/sleep. For a while we thought she was hungry, but eventually we figured out she was more tired than she was hungry -- and she needed to sleep first before she had the wherewithal to eat. That was just our story -- not sure what will be yours. Just know that if this is the witching hour, it should gradually get better and eventually it will be gone!

Hi, yes normal but very stressful for parents. Try the 5S from Harvey Karp, they worked well for us. It won't last forever, they grow out of it.


Another resource: Taking Cara Babies


(Sorry for long link—doing from my phone!)

I appreciate a lot of what she offers but definitely every child varies (for example, with our first, we tried Cara’s sleep/eat schedule but it *definitely* didn’t work for our girl so we let that rigidity go). 
What worked for us during witching hour (5-6pm for about 4weeks starting around 12 wks?) was just holding her and walking around and around the kitchen island for an hour.

If you’ve ever had cats that run “zoomies” before bed, this is kinda like that—babies can’t run out their energy, so they cry it out to wind down. 
You're right on track and doing all the best for your baby. No mama guilt allowed. ;) 

It's witching hour. We had the same problem. It goes away in a few weeks. For us it took 3 weeks. We distracted her by wearing her on the baby carrier or taking her out in the stroller.


I know a lot of people are saying this is normal, but after 2 kids I found out their "witching hour" was in fact an allergy to milk for one child and lactose intolerance for another. You mentioned you don't think it is gas, but I do advise changing their diet (or yours if nursing) to see if it's something they're allergic or have an intolerance too. 

When my first started witching around 5pm, I tried adding another nap based on advice from The Happy Sleeper. It totally worked for him. We also did a very early bedtime like 6pm. For my second, he witched at 8/9pm and there wasn’t a whole lot that helped. He also took horrible naps when he was a newborn, like 5-10 mins, so I think he was so exhausted at the end of the night and only wanted me which was not always an option since we had another child. It eventually subsided but it was very stressful. I hope it just magically stops one day for you!